Helpful Self-Soothing Strategies Every Parent Should Know
5 min read
Imagine this: blissful, uninterrupted slumber. A well-rested family and new baby. Time and energy replenished. Sounds good, right?
For many new parents, having a good night’s sleep may seem too good to be true.
And, while it’s normal for a baby to wake several times throughout the night in search of food or comfort, settling them back to sleep efficiently may help to get everyone a better night’s rest.
Read on to discover our handy guide to self-soothing tips. But remember, if your little one is younger than six-months-old they will still wake for feeds during the night and every baby develops at their own unique pace.
It’s important not to enforce self-soothing for a child that isn’t ready.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleeping schedule, talk to your health professional.
Self-soothing is when your baby helps themselves fall back to sleep. Although it may sound like a fantasy, it’s a set of techniques commonly utilised by parents to encourage their little one to drift off back to dreamland when they wake in the night.
While some babies are inherently self-soothers (lucky parents), most babies need some assistance.
This involves teaching them simple calming techniques that they can implement when they wake.
It’s worthwhile exploring a few. Remember, every baby is unique and your little one may prefer one technique over the others.
It’s tempting as a parent to rock and rock away with your baby, only putting them down and tip-toeing out of the room when you’re absolutely sure they’re asleep.
But, the sooner your bub learns how to put themselves back to sleep, the sooner you both may become better rested.
Teaching your baby to self-soothe might be hard at first, but it may have positive repercussions for everyone in the long run.
Go about your regular nightly bedtime routine, but be prepared to let go. It will be hard to do, especially because your bond is so strong.
But, in the name of a healthy sleep routine for both your and your bub, it’s an important step in the self-soothing process.
Instead of waiting until your baby is asleep before you put them down for the night, start putting them to bed earlier and earlier into their drift off.
Try starting to put them down when they are just on the cusp of sleep, and keep working backwards until they are fully awake when you put them in.
When your baby wakes in the night, encourage the self-soothing techniques instead of picking them up.
After a few nights of being put to bed before they are asleep and using the self-soothing methods, it’s time to put them to the final test.
Put them in their crib, then leave the room. If they wake up in the night, give them a few minutes – don’t jump in immediately unless you’re concerned that they’re distressed.
If they are left to their own devices, they’ll be more likely to use their self-soothing methods to put themselves back to sleep again.
Once you have taught your baby to self-soothe and drift off to sleep without you, it’s important to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
There may be some nights that don’t work out as well as you’d planned – that’s life.
But, with these helpful tips, a solid night’s sleep may start to become the norm rather than the exception.
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